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Durham University

Research & business

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Professor John A. Gatehouse, M.A., D.Phil. (Oxon.)

Emeritus Professor in the Department of Biosciences
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 41264

(email at


University of Durham (Department of Botany; Department of Biological Sciences; School of Biological and Biomedical Sciences):
Postdoctoral Research Assistant 1976-1979;
Addison Wheeler Research Fellow 1979-1984;
Lecturer 1984-1997;
Reader 1997-2011;

Professor 2011-present.

Currently Deputy Head of School and Director of Undergraduate Teaching

Scientific interests:
Two main areas of research are currently being pursued; Plant-Insect Interactions, and Recombinant Proteins.

Plant-Insect Interactions, and developing insect-resistant crops, form a multi-disciplinary research programme carried out in collaboration with the group of Prof. Angharad Gatehouse IRES, University of Newcastle, with Dr. Elaine Fitches at CSL York, and with other collaborators, both national and international. The programme has involved the study of both plant and insect biochemistry and molecular biology, to characterise the interaction between plants and their predators at the molecular level. Much current research involves the design and production of recombinant fusion proteins as novel insecticides. These proteins are based on plant lectins as carriers for a variety of toxins, including components from venoms of spiders, scorpions and parasitoid wasps. The research group has also been involved in the production and bioassay of insect-resistant transgenic plants, and in evaluating the effects of these plants on non-target organisms. We believe that genetically modified (GM) crops will make a valuable contribution to future agriculture, and, despite the negative image that has been falsely attributed to them, will come to be seen as an environmentally benign form of pest control.

The research group has extensive experience in the production of recombinant proteins in functional form, using various expression systems, but specialising in the yeast Pichia pastoris as an expression host. These proteins have been used as as starting points for mutagenesis programmes designed to produce novel proteins, for use as catalysts, and in pharmaceutical applications. 

Research Groups

Department of Biosciences

Research Interests

  • Biochemistry and molecular biology of plant-insect interactions
  • Expression of recombinant plant and insect proteins in microorganisms
  • Genetic engineering of plants for insect resistance
  • Insect biochemistry and molecular biology
  • Plant biochemistry and molecular biology
  • Protein engineering

Indicators of Esteem

  • 2006: Invited Speaker: Invited speaker for symposium on “Insect Parasitoids: from basic research to applications”, as part of International Congress of Insect Biotechnology and Industry, Korea, Aug. 2007

Selected Publications

Chapter in book

Journal Article

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